When producing power, one can not ignore the common pattern of power demand. Power demand usually subsides during the night and at midday, it peaks, thus requiring maximum power supply required at that time.
For long, peaker plants have provided this additional power required during peak hours. Typically, peaker plants make use of dirty energy sources and are have been frequently criticized in the past. But the good news from Australia are that the solar-power plants are all set to replace these peaker plants.
A number of solar power plants are generating a significant amount of power in Australia, thus mitigating the need for conventional peaker plants. But the solar power plants face a critical problem for now – although the peak hours falls during day time, the peak hours of a solar plant do not exactly coincide with them.
Besides, the lack of a energy storage capacity means that even if the solar power plants generate a bulk of energy, they are unable to store it. This way, even if the solar power’s generation peak if even an hour off from the peak demand hours, that retains the need for the regular peaker plants.
However, with the growth the solar plants are experiencing in Australia, it is hoped that more storage may be added to them in the coming days. For now, there are no effective storage options for solar energy but research is being done to utilize electrical batteries and chemical fuels to that end.
Once this is done, the solar power can fully supply for the peak power demands and the need for regular peaker plants will be eliminated. This could be a very significant step in achieving environment-friendly power generation at a large scale.
Energy storage remains the hardest part in supplying reliable power. Batteries aren’t always practical at this scale, and other techniques such as pumping water in barrages is not always the most power-efficient or feasible depending on the area.
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